1. Avalon McSoley

    Avalon McSoley New Member

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    Should I do this or not?

    Discussion in 'Setting Development' started by Avalon McSoley, Apr 27, 2016.

    I'm writing a book series, where the main character lives in Virginia, USA. So far I've basically made up the surroundings and haven't mentioned any names except very common street names such as Maple Street and Grand Avenue, plus I've named the local school, some restaurants and a store. But it feels kind of off and I think I can benefit from being more specific, especially with his city's name. So, I've looked through the details I've given so far, and it seems as if the most logical place he'd live is Frederick County, but when googling it I found that it doesn't fit what I've written about the town to far; in fact, no state would fit it perfectly and I'm like four books in so changing the layout of the surroundings would be a major task.

    What I'm basically asking is if I can simply wipe the entire Frederick County off the map and replace it with a fictional county I make up, and perhaps just mention in the foreword that the county isn't real? I've already made up a valley in North Carolina, but this is obviously a much bigger change... None of the books are published yet so I'm free to make any changes.

    I know I should've thought of all this when I started, but this was actually something I wrote without ever imagining it getting published, which caused for such problems now that it's getting serious...:bigoops:
     
  2. LostThePlot

    LostThePlot Contributor Contributor

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    Yeah just make up your own county that fits. It's not a big deal. Unless your book is specifically historical or plays off it's 'real world' credibility then just make up a setting that fits what you are doing.
     
  3. terobi

    terobi Senior Member

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    You can make up a fictional one if you like, most people won't notice - including the ones who live in Virginia.

    Where you will have more problems is if your setting doesn't feel like it can fit in Virginia at all. Say, you've give the setting a frontier town feel or a large hispanic population; just things that anyone with a passing knowledge of the place will pick up on.
     
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  4. Cave Troll

    Cave Troll Writing is a form of Sadomasochism. :P Contributor

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    @Avalon McSoley Ma'am, step away from the keyboard. I am going to need to see your operators license and proof of registration. Don't make me confiscate your keyboard.:supergrin:

    On the serious. Yeah you can change what ever you want about a real location, even if it involves wiping it off the map entirely. I remember it was pretty in the fall up in the mountains. :p Don't worry about making things accurate, unless you have a mind to. You could even make Virginia as flat as Tennessee if you want to. :D You are the creator of your fictional universe, and no one can tell you what to do within it. So go nuts, there is no wrong way to write fiction. :)
     
  5. Robert Musil

    Robert Musil Contributor Contributor

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    matwoolf likes this.
  6. LostThePlot

    LostThePlot Contributor Contributor

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    Am I the only one who read those two proper nouns as 'Virginia Woolf' and 'Tennessee Williams' ?
     
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  7. IHaveNoName

    IHaveNoName Senior Member Community Volunteer

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    William Faulkner invented a completely fictional county and set several books there... there's nothing that says you can't. TV shows feature fictional cities all the time. As long as it's believable, who cares?
     
  8. doggiedude

    doggiedude Contributor Contributor

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    I still would like to visit Derry Maine.
     
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  9. Rebel Yellow

    Rebel Yellow Active Member

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    Derry is Dallas. Dallas is Derry.
     
  10. Seraph751

    Seraph751 If I fell down the rabbit hole... Contributor

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    One of my favorite authors created a town called Broken Heart, OK.
     
  11. Catrin Lewis

    Catrin Lewis Contributor Contributor Community Volunteer

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    But--- but--- Tennessee ain't flat!

    Really, though, I have to disagree with this premise somewhat. If you rewrite Virginia, USA, to make it totally unrecognizable, what's the point of saying your story is set in Virginia? You'll only get your readers (especially the Virginians) up in arms.

    Find out about the typical geophysical features and the usual county and town naming patterns in the part of Virginia you're interested in, and follow suit.
     
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  12. Cave Troll

    Cave Troll Writing is a form of Sadomasochism. :P Contributor

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    Ok my bad, Kansas is the flat one. :p
     
  13. Catrin Lewis

    Catrin Lewis Contributor Contributor Community Volunteer

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    Western Kansas, yeah. The eastern part, not totally. Especially when you're riding your bike down Mount Oread in Lawrence, Kansas, and your brakes go out.

    (Been there, done that, got the cuts and bruises.)
     
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  14. Cave Troll

    Cave Troll Writing is a form of Sadomasochism. :P Contributor

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    It has been many a year since I have been across country. :p I know this Utah goes on forever... :p
     
  15. Sack-a-Doo!

    Sack-a-Doo! Contributor Contributor

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    There are no rules when it comes to this kind of thing. Rename away.

    As for mentioning it up front, I wouldn't bother. The standard disclaimer about characters not being based on real people is enough, I'm sure.
     

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